The Look Ahead: Iowa (6-4, 3-4) vs. Purdue (4-6, 2-5) (11/18/17 – Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City)

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By John Patchett (   11/15/17

Iowa returns to Kinnick Stadium for the last time this season, hosting Big Ten West opponent Purdue. It’s also Senior Day in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are 6-4, 3-4 – the Boilermakers are 4-6, 2-5 and have lost four of their last five games. Those losses, however, have only been by an average of 5.3 points – and Wisconsin, which dominated Iowa last week, barely squeaked by Purdue 17-9 in Madison on October 14. Purdue is 0-3 in B1G road games this year.

The Hawkeyes have defeated Wyoming, Iowa State, North Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio State – while losing to Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern, and Wisconsin. Three of Iowa’s losses (other than at Wisconsin) have come by one possession each and two of those came down to the last play of the game.

Purdue’s four wins came against Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, and Illinois. Its losses were to Louisville, Michigan, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Northwestern.

Iowa won last year’s game at Purdue 49-35 but Purdue leads the overall series 46-38-3. The Hawkeyes have won four straight, nine of the last 11, and 21 of the last 28 games played between the two teams. Iowa is 21-19-2 in games played against Purdue in Iowa City.

Kirk Ferentz is in his 19th season as Iowa Head Coach with a record of 141-96 at Iowa – and he’s still just two wins shy of tying Hayden Fry as Iowa’s all-time winningest head football coach. Both Ferentz and Fry rank in the top seven in the Big Ten both in terms of overall wins and conference victories. Ferentz is also currently the dean of college football coaches.

Jeff Brohm is in his first season at Purdue, bringing hope to Boilers Nation after his highly successful run at Western Kentucky. His record at Purdue is 4-6 but his overall record in four years as a head coach is 34-16.

Game Notes

18 seniors will be playing their last game at Kinnick Stadium – both stars and guys who have contributed in ways other than seeing much playing time – and they will be recognized in the traditional pre-game ceremony: DL Nathan Bazata, OL Ike Boettger, LB Bo Bower, RB James Butler, DL Daniel Gaffey, DL Jake Hulett, LB Josey Jewell, LS Tyler Kluver, FB Drake Kulick, OL Boone Myers, LB Ben Niemann, TE Peter Pekar, SS Miles Taylor, WR Matt VandeBerg, RB Akrum Wadley, LB Kevin Ward, OL Sean Welsh, and TE Jon Wisnieski.

Per Iowa Athletic Communications, since the start of the 2014 season the Hawkeyes with this group of seniors have won 33 games and qualified for a bowl game every year. The senior class has an overall record of 33-17, including a 20-7 mark at home and a 21-11 record in Big Ten games. The 21 conference wins are the fourth most by any senior class under Ferentz. The 2005 senior class won 25 Big Ten games, the 2004 senior class won 24, and the 2016 class won 23.

While Kirk (and Brian) Ferentz stress the goal of having a balanced offense – passing and rushing – one Offensive stat stands out. Since start of 2015 season, Iowa is 26-1 when rushing for 100 yards or more – but 0-10 when it is under 100 yards on the ground. Purdue is giving up an average of 139.4 rushing yards per game. Plus, it’s also the last home game for Iowa running backs Senior Akrum Wadley and Graduate Transfer James Butler – expect them to put forth some extra effort in their last game at Kinnick.

Purdue’s Defense has seen major improvement this season, compared to the past few years. It is also varied – sometimes running a 3-4 scheme, other times the more traditional 4-3, and it blitzes from both. The Boilermakers are fourth in the Big Ten in Scoring Defense, surrendering just 19.3 points per game – that’s one spot ahead of the Hawkeyes Defense which is giving up just 20.1 points per game. Last year Purdue’s opponents scored an average of 38.3 points per game. Additionally, the Boilers are allowing only 139.4 yards rushing per game, 3.7 yards per carry, and just nine rushing touchdowns – vs. last season when they gave up an average of 238.4 rushing yards on 5.25 yards per carry and 35 rushing TDs. That’s a stunning turnaround in Brohm’s first season in West Lafayette.

  • Purdue has held its last three opponents under 100 yards rushing. [Iowa’s record when rushing less than 100 yards 0-10 since 2015.]
  • Boilers are forcing 3-and-outs on 33.9% of opponents’ drives (an average of 4.1 per game).
  • In its four road games, Purdue has:
    • Allowed just 14.3 points per game, including a meager 16 total points in second halves.
    • Allowed only six TDs – three of those in the first quarter – given up only three points in the fourth quarter. [However, that has been the strongest scoring quarter for Iowa’s Offense, outscoring its opponents in that period 93-54.]
    • Have six takeaways – three picks and three fumble recoveries.

The Hawkeyes have tied a single season school record with four pick-sixes: 89 yards by Brandon Snyder vs. Illinois, 30 yards by Amani Hooker vs. Ohio State, and two by Joshua Jackson at Wisconsin (43 yards and 52 yards). The three previous seasons this occurred were 1995, 2010, and 2015.

The Iowa – Purdue Game will be televised by BTN with announcers Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen, and Lisa Byington. It will be broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network with announcers Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolack, and Rob Brooks – and it will also be available on satellite radio XM Channel 196 and Sirius Channel 135.

Depth Chart

Iowa’s Depth Chart is largely unchanged from what it was for Wisconsin. SS Amani Hooker hasn’t practiced since the Ohio State Game and Ferentz indicated Tuesday that is highly unlikely he will play in the Purdue Game. That leaves former starter Miles Taylor as his replacement. Punter is still listed as “or” – either Ryan Gersonde or Colten Rastetter, who handled all of the punting duties in Madison last Saturday.

Purdue’s biggest loss is probably its starting quarterback David Blough. However, Blough’s backup Sophomore Elijah Sindelar has seen considerable playing time throughout the season. He started was last Saturday at Northwestern, completing 37 of 60 passes for 376 yards, two TDs, and one INT. Before his injury, Blough was fourth in the B1G and 17th nationally with a 65% completion percentage. Sindelar’s backup is also a wide receiver – Jared Sparks is a threat out of the Wildcat formation and was the main receiving target vs. the Wildcats, catching 11 passes for 130 yards.

Additional Game Notes from Iowa Athletic Communications

Junior DB Josh Jackson leads the country in interceptions (7), interception return yards (163), and passes defended (23), and ranks third in passes broken up (16). He has five interceptions in the last two weeks, returning two of them for touchdowns against Wisconsin (43, 52), and is one interception from tying Iowa’s single-season record (Desmond King, 2015; Lou King, 1981; Nile Kinnick, 1939).  He has earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week the last two weeks.

QB Nate Stanley has 22 touchdown passes, second in the Big Ten and tied for 14th in the nation. He is the first Hawkeye to throw 20-plus touchdowns in a season since James Vandenberg threw 25 touchdowns in 2011. Chuck Long holds Iowa’s single-season TD record (27 in 1985).

LB Josey Jewell leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the nation with 11.6 tackles per game. He has 104 tackles this season, tops in the Big Ten and tied for fifth nationally. He needs 11 stops to tie Chad Greenway for fifth all-time (416) and become the third Hawkeye in program history to have three seasons with at least 115 tackles (Larry Station 83, 84, 85; Abdul Hodge 03, 04, 05).  

Iowa’s senior linebacker trio is making its final home appearance. Josey Jewell (40), Ben Niemann (37), and Bo Bower (36) have combined for 113 starts. The have started 22 of the last 23 games together (Jewell missed NW game in Week 7).

Second-year tight ends Noah Fant (So.) and T.J. Hockenson (redshirt freshman) have combined for 43 receptions this season. Among those 43 receptions, all but six have resulted in a touchdown (10) or first down (27). Fant’s seven touchdowns are a single-season school record for a tight end. 

Sophomore DE Anthony Nelson is tied for third in the Big Ten with six sacks (27 yards). Nelson had six sacks as a freshman last season, second best on the team. True freshman A.J. Epenesa is tied for second on the team with 3.5 sacks, and leads the team with seven quarterback hurries.

Iowa’s first 10 opponents have a combined record of 67-33 (.670). Its final two opponents have a combined record of 8-12 (.400). lists the Hawkeyes at No. 7 in strength of schedule, third among Big Ten teams (No. 2 Penn State, No. 6 Ohio State).

Kirk Ferentz has 141 overall wins and 85 Big Ten wins as Iowa’s head coach. The 85 conference wins rank sixth among the conference’s all-time winningest coaches in Big Ten games.  Ferentz is two wins from tying Hayden Fry as the Hawkeyes’ all-time winningest football coach. He is also the longest-tenured head football coach in college football.

Three Key Questions

  1. Which version of Iowa’s Offense will show up at Kinnick on Saturday – the one the trounced Ohio State or the one that was skunked at Wisconsin? Watch whether the Hawkeyes hit 100 yards or more rushing.
  2. Can Iowa’s young offensive line bounce back after the Wisconsin debacle and keep QB Nate Stanley clean – especially given Purdue’s mixed fronts on defense?
  3. How much will the weather be a factor – it’s expected to be in the low 40s and very windy – which can particularly stress the passing and kicking games of both teams?


Wisconsin clinched a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game plus a share of the West Division title with its win over Iowa last weekend. The Badgers can win the Division outright by beating Michigan this Saturday or by a Northwestern loss to Minnesota.

The East Division is led by Ohio State with its 6-1 record – Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State are all one game behind at 5-2 in conference play. If the Buckeyes defeat Illinois this Saturday and Wisconsin beats Michigan it can clinch the East Division berth in the Championship Game.

Wisconsin’s 10-0 start this season is a school record and it is just one of five FBS teams that remain undefeated – yet as of this week it sits outside the four teams ranked for the playoffs.

Northwestern has won five straight B1G games for the first time since 1995-96 when it won 13 straight over those two seasons.

Iowa’s Josh Jackson tied a Big Ten record with his two pick-sixes at Wisconsin. He is just the third player in conference history to accomplish that feat. One of the other two – former Hawkeye B.J. Lowery did it in 2013 against Western Michigan.

Week 11 Results, including Iowa’s 38-14 drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin, included:

  • Ohio State obliterating Michigan State 48-3;
  • Minnesota smashing hapless Nebraska 54-21; and,
  • Northwestern holding off Purdue 23-13.

Week 12 Games, in addition to Iowa hosting Purdue, include:

  • Michigan at Wisconsin;
  • Minnesota at Northwestern; and,
  • Nebraska at Penn State (the Cornhuskers need to defeat the Nittany Lions and Iowa to even become bowl-eligible – which appears highly unlikely – and if they lose both they will finish the season with four straight losses).

Iowa – Purdue Game Week Content is here.

Stats Smackdown: Iowa – Purdue is below.

Big Ten NCAA Statistical Leaders (team and individual) are below.